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AU Appeals for Stable and Peaceful Environment’ For Burundi Polls :: Uganda Radionetwork
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AU Appeals for Stable and Peaceful Environment’ For Burundi Polls

In a joint statement issued together with the United Nations on Sunday, the partners said they have been following the electoral campaign and remain concerned about reports of intimidation and violent clashes between supporters of opposing sides.

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The African Union (AU) Commission has urged the authorities in Burundi to provide a safe and secure environment for citizens to cast their votes. 

The call comes ahead of presidential and local elections to be held in Burundi on Wednesday. The race is pitting an army general, Evariste Ndayishimiye, a member of the ruling party CNDD-FDD, against Agathon Rwasa, from the main opposition party, the National Congress for Liberty. 

In a joint statement issued together with the United Nations on Sunday, the partners said they have been following the electoral campaign and remain concerned about reports of intimidation and violent clashes between supporters of opposing sides.

"The two Organizations encourage all entities involved in organizing the 20 May 2020 elections, the defence and security forces and state-owned media to fully contribute to preserving a stable and peaceful environment, pre-requisite for free, inclusive, fair, transparent and credible elections in Burundi," the statement said. 

"They urge all political actors to refrain from all acts of violence and hate speech, and resort to dialogue, to enable the holding of consensual and peaceful elections. They also encourage the Burundian authorities to ensure and facilitate the full participation of women during this electoral process." 

Although the East African Community is sending an election observation mission to the Country, the government was reluctant to sign a working agreement with the African Union-mandated human rights observers. In recent years, the government of Burundi has attempted to shield itself from international scrutiny by blocking independent monitors, denying access to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, and shutting down the UN Human Rights Office in Burundi. 

The AU Commission and the UN Secretariat also called on political parties to abide by the Code of Conduct which they had signed last December and implement preventive measures to protect citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Burundi on March 31. But the president’s spokesperson said on April 7, that the pandemic could not be a reason to cancel elections because Burundians are people blessed by God. 

Last week, a UN Commission of Inquiry also expressed alarm over violence and human rights abuses in the run-up to the vote.

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